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The Doctor’s Pill By John Collet

The Doctor’s Pill by John Collet

John Collet (1725-1780) from the Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

Detail: cat, table, chair, bed, doctor’s bill, picture, boots, gloves, walking stick, medicine bottles, old woman, doctor, coat, men’s hat, maid, cloth cap, drinking glass

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. To me, the painting has far more to do with attitude than anything else. The sign on the wall behind the woman about never escaping the doctor’s pill is an obvious comment on what the artist thought about doctors. The woman is obviously hesitant to take the pill, perhaps for its size as much as for her fear of what might be in it, or what it might taste like. The ears of the cat seem more sideways/down then up, and flattened ears on a cat indicate dislike as we all know. The doctor himself rather reminds me of one of the medieval plague doctor pictures. I wonder if the artist knew of them? The doctor also seems well dressed, and you can see his gloves and walking stick/cane on the table behind him. Perhaps a not so subtle comment on doctors making money on the back of human illness? The doctor also seems to be lecturing the old woman with the pill, or brow-beating her into taking the pill, Oddly, the only person who seems happy is the young woman holding the glass, and her smile looks unpleasant, as if she is finally getting her own back against the old woman. A daughter, daughter in law, or a servant?

  2. It’s really good to know about the history of the dishes and recipes and the cooking tools and equipments. Really knowledgeable..

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